Words — so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
Why do you write?
If you are a writer, it’s an important question to ask yourself.
Had I asked myself this question a year ago, my answer would have been that I write because it’s my clearest form of communication. I can get my point across, tell a story, or relay information more concisely and intelligently in writing than through the spoken word.
For some reason, my thoughts from brain to paper (or computer) emerge more easily and eloquently than they do from brain to mouth. And happily I can edit myself on paper. Oh my, if I had a dollar for every uttered word that I should have stuffed back into my mouth!
Now that I have started a blog, my feelings about why I write have changed forever.
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth
And I have changed as a person in the process. My blog initially was a temporary web site for my coaching practice. I didn’t have the time or skill to put together a web site, so I found a simple blogging template and created a platform for writing about coaching issues.
I saw my writing as a marketing forum for my business. But then a funny thing happened on the way to that forum. People started responding to my blog. They were getting something from what I was writing. I was receiving e-mails and calls from people telling me that I had helped them or touched them in some way.
I was serving them, whether I intended to or not.
Somewhere along the way, serving people became more important to me than “getting clients.”
I switched my intention from getting to giving. I began to view writing not as tool to make money, but as a creative gift that I could share with others. This mental shift was liberating for me, and now I don’t worry about perfection or impressing others with my writing. I just want to make sure my readers take away something valuable and useful for their lives.
Since my perspective has changed, another amazing thing has happened.
Wonderful gifts have come my way in the form of new friends, new opportunities, new learning, and yes, some new clients too. The best part for me is the feeling of purpose I have around my writing. I feel fulfilled and happy — like I am doing something really good. Getting paid for it will be nice, but at the moment, I see that as secondary. I trust it will come.
Writing can be a lonely business.
When it’s just you and your fingers tapping away at your keyboard, it’s hard to visualize your readers out there and how your words will impact them. Writers spend a lot of time worrying about deadlines and content and sources of inspiration. It can be a very self-focused activity where the rewards often appear long after the work is finished.
Most other creative types get to enjoy the immediate gratification of their patrons’ response and appreciation.
Dancers, musicians, actors, even visual artists can perform their craft and reap the rewards fairly quickly. Writers must plod along, hammering ideas into words with no supportive fans standing behind them shouting, “Well done, bravo!”
As a writer, you must create your own motive and reward for doing the work. When inspiration fails you, when you are tired or bored with writing, what is your raison d’etre? What keeps you going?
If you would like to harness a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment around your writing work, here are some suggestions you might consider:
What will be your legacy?
Is your writing part of that? If so, then write every day like it is your last lecture and leave the stamp of your creative service on the world.
This is a guest post written by Barrie Davenport, a life and career coach and founder of Live Bold and Bloom, a blog about fearless living.
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